The Central Lakes College Raiders athletic department has undergone a facelift, combining the men's and women's athletic director positions into one, with Jane Peterson being named athletic director of the merged programs.
The changes began Nov. 29 when Mike Degen resigned as head football coach. Dennis Eastman, who was the men's athletic director and is the women's basketball and softball coach, accepted the vacant football coaching position Feb. 7. Eastman will step down from coaching softball after this season.
"When Dennis' job changed to include football," said Peterson, "we re-evaluated everything and agreed that having one person responsible for the athletic department would help support a positive image for Raider athletics. Instead of having work divided, work would be concentrated to one place."
Peterson, who is also the volleyball coach, pointed out that with two separate athletic departments, sometimes details weren't always clear.
"Sometimes things got fuzzy," Peterson said. "With one athletic director, this clears up some of those issues. As an athletic department, we're convinced and committed that we can still have more than one voice in athletics and use everyone's strengths."
One of her main responsibilities will be to promote Raider athletics, first on campus, then in the community at large.
"We want more faculty and staff and students to come to games," Peterson said. "Another main part of this job will be supporting the coaches that we have here. As coaches we have to care about what each coach is doing. I feel the job of an athletic director is to make the coaches' jobs easier."
Peterson believes CLC athletics should benefit more with one person dedicating their time to promoting athletes, coaches and programs.
"Once kids get here you have to get them to have pride in the sports and teams that they know nothing about," said Peterson. "Some of the kids don't know we've won national championships and that we have great coaches. Then, I also want to promote our athletics to the general community. We have a small circle of supporters and we need to make that circle larger."
And, as Peterson points out, it's college students that make Raider athletics so much fun to be a part of.
"We deal with students that are at a unique age but they're fun kids to deal with," Peterson said. "We want the greater community to see what we do and appreciate it. I feel there's a lot that these college kids can give to the community and this community can give a lot to these college students."
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